Sticking Up For Mum

The Gulf war between Live Nation and AEG looks to have gotten a little personal after Elissa Murtaza’s daughter launched a stinging attack on Thomas Ovesen in the U.K.’s The Times.

"She loves her mother and feels for me. I didn’t know she had responded to it," Murtaza told Pollstar after daughter Nadia had added her comments to an online version of the paper’s report on the world’s two major promoters’ moving into the Emirates.

"Thomas Ovesen worked under my mother and in actual fact put the company in jeopardy several times with bad choices in acts," was Nadia’s response to the paper describing the former Mirage general manager as "the man behind some of Mirage’s biggest concerts."

"To add to that, he also left Mirage at the beginning of the New Year when a full team was needed most for the LN deal to go through. He left because it was too ‘stressful.’ So he has nothing to do with Live Nation, nor does he deserve any credit for the shows that have been brought to the Middle East.

"My mother founded Mirage Promotions in Bahrain over 15 years ago and opened the Dubai office as well. She is managing director to all the Mirage Offices that have been around the Middle East and she is the one who is responsible for all the shows and growth of the concert entertainment industry," she explained.

Ovesen said he left Mirage to "lie on the beach and listen to my iPod," rather than as a reaction to any "changes" that Murtaza admitted to have in the pipeline. He joined AEG to set up its Middle East office within a couple of months.

"I think it is best left in peace," was Ovesen’s reaction to Nadia Murtaza’s comments in The Times.

The paper’s media correspondent had written how the world’s biggest live music companies are to "take their battle for supremacy to the Gulf states after announcing plans to turn the region into the next lucrative staging post for rock’s biggest stars."

The reporter wrote that Anschutz Entertainment Group, "which reinvented the Dome as a live music venue," plans to lure acts such as Prince and Bon Jovi to the United Arab Emirates to perform in new, purpose-built arenas, while Live Nation was reportedly looking at Madonna playing Dubai as part of her next tour.

The article quoted Ovesen saying, "My vision is that the UAE will be the hub for entertainment for the entire region. We believe the O2 model, where Prince played 21 nights, could really work in the region."

It also said AEG plans to host Broadway musicals as well as pop concerts in its new arenas, with the shows marketed to foreign expats living in Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.